St Gregory’s school was founded by Alex McCallum Toppin on June the 10th 1939.

Alex spent most of his life in Persia, now known as Iran and Iraq. He joined the Merchant Navy and In World War 1 Alex was torpedoed twice in one day. This prompted him to apply for a transfer and he was sent to Baghdad with the Royal Engineers.

While he was there he met TE Lawrence and Agatha Christie and even gave her advice on her novels.

Alex became really ill with polio and was told he would never walk again. He drank some water from Lourdes and within an hour he could wiggle his toes. He had a really strong Catholic faith and this was why he wanted to found a school at home.

In 1937 Alex assisted Father Deans to plan and build a junior school on Harton House Road East.

He died in 1946 and is buried in Harton Cemetery next to Father Deans.

Written by a past pupil